News Blog

2020 Virtual Open Day

Posted by Robert Hampton on 12th July 2020 at 12:03 pm

Today, 12th July, would have been the annual Merseyside Transport Trust open day at Burscough. Unfortunately, with the country still under restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MTT had no choice but to cancel this year’s event.

In lieu of a physical event, we thought we would share some images from previous open days to remind you of what we are doing and the progress we have made. Some more pictures are available on our Facebook page:


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Visit from Joel D Hardy

Posted by Robert Hampton on 26th February 2020 at 7:19 pm

We were pleased to welcome railway vlogger Joel D Hardy to Burscough on Sunday. His video of his visit is below. Thanks for stopping by, Joel!

Please do check out the rest of Joel’s videos from the railways of Merseyside and beyond on YouTube channel.

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John Eccles 1941-2020

Posted by Robert Hampton on 4th February 2020 at 9:03 pm

All of us at the Friends of the 502 Group were deeply saddened by the news that one of our members, John Eccles, passed away on 24th January 2020. Our treasurer, Tony Kuivala, pays tribute:

Photo of John Eccles

John lived in Formby/Southport all of his life. His active interest in the London Midland & Scottish Railway Electric Multiple Units (now known as Class 502 Units) that ran from Liverpool Exchange Station to Southport Chapel Street Station commenced (as he told me recently) from when he was in his pram. Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s John kept considerable records of their workings as he travelled to and from Liverpool.


Merry Christmas

Posted by Robert Hampton on 24th December 2019 at 8:32 pm

"Happy Christmas from the Friends of the 502 Group" - with a 502 at a snow-covered Southport station

Thanks to all our friends and supporters throughout the year. 2020 promises to be an exciting year for the group, we are looking forward to some interesting events. Until then though – Merry Christmas!

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Neil Squires 1962-2019

Posted by Robert Hampton on 15th November 2019 at 8:16 pm

We’re sorry to hear of the death of one of our founder members, Neil Squires, last Friday. Neil served as our first Secretary and was a major driving force behind the Friends of the 502 Group in those early years. Our thoughts are with all who knew him.

Photo of Neil Squires working on the 502

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Restoring Southport’s Original Station

Posted by Robert Hampton on 23rd October 2019 at 7:57 pm

Southport Model Railway Society have been very supportive of us over the years, and we are happy to return the favour by sharing this crowdfunding appeal.

Photo of Southport Model Railway Society clubhouse

Very few stations survive from the 1840’s, but we are fortunate that by a quirk of fate (the original line being extended around the corner into the present site of Southport station in Chapel Street), Southport’s original Eastbank Lane Station has survived.

Although Southport Model Railway Society restored the building in 1987, and Network Rail recently restored it externally, the interior is not at present safe to receive visitors, and the anticipated crowdfunded work will allow this.

This is a crowdfunded project, and payment will only be taken if the project reaches its target of £1,639 by 21 December 2019. Please visit for more information and to pledge.

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Online shop returns!

Posted by Robert Hampton on 16th July 2019 at 8:21 pm

It’s been a while, but our online shop is back and restocked with our new merchandise, showing the beautiful new illustration produced exclusively for us by Jonathan Clay. Mugs, mouse mats and framed prints are available now.

Class 502 Mug with Jonathan Clay illustration

Class 502 Mouse Mat with Jonathan Clay illustration

We also have a page of railway books and DVDs to purchase via an Amazon affiliate link, with a small percentage of each sale going to benefit the 502 Group.

If you haven’t been able to get to one of our shows recently, this is your chance to get your hands on some merchandise. Please visit us now at to make your purchase!

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Burscough Open Day 2019

Posted by Robert Hampton on 10th June 2019 at 8:27 pm

Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day Poster

It’s nearly that time again, when the Merseyside Transport Trust throws open the doors of their Burscough headquarters and allows the public in to see their collection of vehicles.

This year’s open day takes place on 14th July from 10.30am to 4.00pm.

Of course, the 502 Group will be there too, ready to show visitors around our historic train. If you want to see what we have been up to this past year, the open day is the perfect opportunity. Group members will be on hand to answer any questions you might have, and our usual range of merchandise will be on sale.

Buses at MTT Open Day

The MTT’s base is located just off Tollgate Road, Burscough, L40 8TG. As usual, a frequent shuttle bus service will operate from Ormskirk bus station and Burscough Bridge railway station, offering easy access by public transport.

For more info, visit

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Ormskirk Paints

Posted by Robert Hampton on 20th April 2019 at 6:08 pm

The Friends of the 502 Group would like to offer our thanks to Ormskirk Paints who have recently contributed £100 of materials towards the renovation of the unit.

If you need paint or other DIY essentials, please do stop by at 95 Burscough Street, Ormskirk, L39 2EL.

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Best of British Rail Show 2019

Posted by Robert Hampton on 9th March 2019 at 3:42 pm

The Friends of the 502 Group will be taking part in the Best of British Rail event at Crewe Heritage Centre on Saturday 23rd March 2019.

The event is being held in association with the Woodhead Railway Heritage Group.

As well as our own stand, there will be other preservation groups, displays of British Rail memorabilia, train and freight operating company stands and at least one visiting locomotive.

Hope to see you there!

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